Here’s Good News: You’re Still a Sinner. You Can Stop Obsessing Over Being Perfect.

Keith KettenringChristian Living, Motley Christian, Passions

Do you feel pressure to act like an exceptional Christian? Are there people around you telling you that you’re perfect in Christ so live like it? Or, are you uptight about looking good in front of others so they’ll be impressed with your spirituality? Truth is, there is no pressure to perform well as a Christian. Your sin should teach you that.

I’m not saying, “Whoo, hoo!! I can still sin because I’m a sinner anyway.” What I’m trying to communicate is, “Sin is a reality in my life. Accept it and deal with it fervently in repentance, humility, and with holy perseverance. It is spiritually unhealthy to deny my sin and think I’m righteous.”

I once believed that since Christ forgives all our sin, we are no longer considered sinners. We are called “saints” so that’s what we are. I even did a series of sermons about this notion. It never occurred to me that a Christian could be both saint and sinner all at once.

Being labeled a saint does not make me one. Being labeled a Christian doesn’t make me one. I am a man. But there’s more to being a man than having the tag.

The idea that I’m not a “sinner” anymore seemed to make sense based on 1 John 1.8-10. It just goes to show that we often make the Bible say anything we want it to say. Our interpretation of the Bible is not truth though the Bible itself is. Preachers, teachers, writers, and parents can sure screw that up, can’t they?!? Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.

Besides, reality loudly declares that we sin no matter how saintly we view ourselves.

As I study the lives of men and women considered “saints” by the Church, I see that they always saw themselves as sinners, often the worst of sinners. In fact, the holier and more enlightened they became, the more their spiritual eyes were opened to grave sin in their lives.

I had a conversation with a University president many years ago. We were talking about the recent downfall of a prominent Christian leader at the time. The president said, “I think his problem was that he started believing his own press releases.” In other words, He started living as if what was told about him was absolutely true. He became prideful and forgot how sinful, weak, and vulnerable he actually was. It was his downfall.

We usually don’t think of our “identity in Christ” in those terms. Yet, there are parallels. We believe the notion that because we’re “in Christ,” “a child of the King,” “clothed in the righteousness of Christ,” and “eternally saved” we’re protected from sin whether it comes from Satan, the flesh, or the world. We could not be more wrong. Truth is, we’re setting ourselves up for a fall or continuous falling.

It’s better to live in our weakness and vulnerability, well aware of our sinfulness. Then we battle it with all the resources God gives us.

It’s better to struggle to live in union with Christ while recognizing the hindrances to doing so.

Be careful not to become blinded by spiritual accolades, even ones that are torn out of the Bible.

Become more and more aware of your sin. Be quick to acknowledge and confess it. Make repentance, turning from anything that’s not God and turning to God, a regular part of your day.

Live weak in Christ and you will be strong in Christ.